A man with a beard.

Gensler Voices: Simba Mafundikwa on Continued Learning

This Q&A is part of a series of interviews with Gensler architects, designers, and others in the firm about their career journey, and the impact that design and architecture can have on our communities and the human experience. Here, we sit down with Simba Mafundikwa, a designer in our Seattle office.

How can architecture and design make space that’s inclusive for everyone?

The best design teams I have been a part of included people from all walks of life with eclectic, lived experiences that informed our approach to designing spaces. As a result, the work and spaces created are more successful at being inclusive for everyone. This is one way architecture and design can make inclusive spaces for everyone.

How were you first introduced to architecture and design?

My father is a graphic designer, and my mother is a dancer which meant I was surrounded by art and design as a child. While attending high school in Zimbabwe, I was first introduced to architecture as a profession by chance through a technical graphics class I was chosen to be a part of. Later on, learning about African architects like Francis Kéré who designed and built beautiful infrastructure that was much needed in his home village and improved people’s quality of life solidified my desire to do the same as an architect.

What unique perspective and experience do you bring to Gensler?

Growing up in a multicultural and multilingual environment and experiencing four regions of the world early on in my life has shaped the way I see and approach the world around me. I am early in my career at Gensler; however, I hope to inspire my colleagues to look at design for people through a wider lens and spark curiosity to learn more.

How do you continue learning throughout your career?

Staying curious! My mother told me as a kid I asked a lot of questions, which I still do as an adult. I am curious about many things and enjoy learning. I think it is important to stay curious and ask questions at any stage of our lives. I am currently on an aviation project and learn something new about airports almost on a daily basis, which is something I love about architecture.

What are you most excited for when it comes to the future of architecture and design?

I am most excited for the future and development of the African continent. Especially Zimbabwe, but the continent as a whole. I want to be part of contributing in a meaningful way to innovation and design in Africa as well as helping aspiring talent succeed and contribute to Africa’s future in the ways they would like to.

For media inquiries, email .